Coronary Heart Disease
February is Heart Healthy Month at Wellness Solution Centers and 8WW
We believe Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is an over looked topic for something that affects every single one of us. Did you know that 1 out of every 3 people die from cardiovascular disease? Chances are you have a friend or a loved one who has heart disease and is treating it or has lost someone because of it. Maybe you yourself have it and are trying to manage it. Bottom line: Pay attention because this information will absolutely help you.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a condition caused by the buildup of waxy plaque in the arteries that flow to and from the heart. CHD occurs when the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart narrow and sometimes harden, which over time can cause ruptures, heart attacks and other fatal conditions.
Why should you care? If the fact that 1 and 3 people die from CHD doesn’t scare you, perhaps this will. Over 70% of the workforce sit for a living. This means that there is a good chance that you sit for a living and don’t move during the day as much as you should. An Australian study of over 63000 people found that those that sat 4 or more hours a day were more likely to have developed heart disease, diabetes, or another chronic disease than those who sat less than four hours a day, regardless of how active they were. If you fall into this category and don’t try to sit less throughout the day, you are now at a higher risk for CHD.
When patients come into our office, many have had bloodwork done within the last year and of these people, many are told they have high cholesterol and they really do not understand what that truly means. You may be following your cholesterol numbers in terms of the “good” cholesterol (HDL) or the “bad” cholesterol (LDL). But the best way to interpret your cholesterol numbers is to understand your cholesterol ratio, more specifically, your ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol levels. In fact, a study published in the American Heart Association Journal Circulation found that those people with the highest triglyceride-to-HDL cholesterol ratios had a sixteen times greater risk of heart disease than those with the lowest ratios. When was the last time you had bloodwork? Do you know your ratio? What should your triglycerides-to-HDL cholesterol ratio be? Ideally, you want no more than a 2:1 ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol. Anything outside of this range puts you at a higher risk for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Know your numbers!
Did you know, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 American adults (about 70 million people) have high blood pressure. About half have uncontrolled high blood pressure, which increases your risk for many serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke. At Wellness Solution Centers, every new patient gets a blood pressure screening on the first visit. Many of our patients fall outside the ideal 120/80 blood pressure reading and have no idea that they are at risk for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Again, knowing your numbers can help you avoid serious problems down the road.
Because CHD is so prevalent in our practice, many patients ask how they can help themselves naturally lower their risk factors for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Adjusting your diet, reducing stress levels and regularly exercising are fundamental to controlling inflammation and, therefore, naturally treating and preventing coronary heart disease.
Diet is Important for Controlling Coronary Heart Disease
Let’s start with diet. Following a healthy, whole-foods–based diet can reduce inflammation, high blood pressure and unhealthy high cholesterol. Of course, eating well will also help you maintain a healthy weight and have more energy to be active, both of which are important for preventing coronary heart disease.
Foods that help reduce inflammation and, therefore, the risk of CHD include:
- Vegetables (all kinds, including beets, carrots, cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale, dark leafy greens, artichokes, onions, peas, salad greens, mushrooms, sea vegetables and squashes)
- Fruits (all kinds, especially berries and citrus)
- Herbs and spices, especially turmeric (curcumin) and raw garlic (also basil, chili peppers, cinnamon, curry powder, ginger, rosemary and thyme)
- Traditional teas like green tea, oolong or white tea
- Legumes and beans
- Healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, avocados, wild-caught fish, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil
- Raw, unpasteurized dairy products, cage-free eggs and pasture-raised poultry
- Red wine in moderation
Supplements can also speed up the body’s ability to fight inflammation and heal itself. Some of these include:
- Omega-3 fish oil supplements or 1 tablespoon of fish oil (such as cod liver oil) daily
- Curcumin and garlic supplements
- Coenzyme Q10
- Vitamins C, D and E
Another very big focus of our practice for a variety of reasons is exercise. Exercise helps restore and maintain cardiovascular health by improving blood flow, bringing more oxygen to your cells, managing hormones and blood sugar levels, and helping you relax. Exercise also lowers high blood pressure, reducing strain on your heart to pump blood throughout. It also increases good HDL cholesterol. We usually hear how bad cholesterol is — but why do our bodies need cholesterol? The good kind is critical for proper neurological function, repairing scar tissue and regulating hormones. One of the best forms of exercise is called High Intensity Interval Training. Studies show that 15 minutes of high intensity interval training burns more calories than jogging on a treadmill for an hour. Effective energy use – HIIT uses a system of work-hard-then-recovery intervals, alternating between high intensity workouts with short resting periods.
Stress raises cortisol levels and interferes with hormone control and inflammatory responses when left unmanaged. Chronic stress caused by our modern, fast-paced lifestyles can affect every bodily system: suppressing the immune system, slowing metabolism, and stalling digestion, detoxification and cell regeneration. For this reason, we believe that the practice of meditation is essential. With meditation, the physiology undergoes a change and every cell in the body is filled with more energy. This results in joy, peace, enthusiasm as the level of energy in the body increases.
On a physical level, meditation:
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
- Decreases any tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems
- Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior
- Improves the immune system
- Increases the energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy
Lower Your Rick Factors for Coronary Heart Disease
At Wellness Solution Centers, we believe strongly that there are many things you can do to lower your risk factors to prevent and manage heart disease that may just save your life. To stay low risk, it is important to incorporate as many healthy habits as you can into your lifestyle. Sadly, we are living in a time where people are not being told the truth about their health and as a result, don’t really know how to take action. In our office, we offer a very comprehensive program called 8 Weeks to Wellness that teaches people not only what to do but how to do it and hold them accountable throughout the entire experience. On our program, you are never alone. On this program, you will learn how to eat properly, exercise and improve your posture, receive massage therapy to improve muscle function and movement, mediate and reduce stress and finally chiropractic care to improve spinal and nervous system function.
Chiropractic Care Can Lower Blood Pressure
Speaking of chiropractic, did you know that chiropractic has been shown to lower blood pressure? A special chiropractic adjustment of the top bone in the neck, the Atlas vertebra, can significantly lower high blood pressure, a placebo-controlled study suggests. According to WebMD, “this procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination,” study leader George Bakris, MD, tells WebMD. “And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems,” adds Bakris, director of the University of Chicago hypertension center. If you or someone you know has never been evaluated by a chiropractor and have risk factor for heart disease or already are undergoing treatment but have not been evaluated by a chiropractor, you should. It could be the missing link in the prevention and treatment of your heart disease.
Improve Your Health at Wellness Solution Centers
At Wellness Solution Center, we have a saying: If you could have improved your health by yourself you would have done it by now. Look, we realize it’s not easy to create change and make new habits. This is the hardest part about improving your health especially when it comes to improving cardiovascular function. Therefore, everyone needs a coach. In this case, a health coach. We have an amazing team of people in our office that coach our patients to success. We have fabulous trainers that will teach you everything you need to know about exercise and mobility and help you create a plan to be successful both inside and outside of our office. We also incorporate a nutritional counselor to walk you through every aspect of healthy eating from sharing recipes and creating shopping lists so you know what to buy at the store to weekly one on one meetings for extra accountability. Lastly, the doctors as well as everyone single staff member including the front desk staff and our massage therapists offer their encouragement, guidance and perspective to keep our patients motivated and on track.
If you or someone you know has risk factors for cardiovascular disease or currently are undergoing treatment and you are looking for another opinion, please consult our office to see if our program and services are right for you. We can do an in-depth evaluation called our Wellness Score Evaluation. This is a scoring system developed to track and measure your physiology and function. It actually gives you a grade, A thru F. We measure what we call biomarkers of health. When we do a wellness score on you we look at various biomarkers of health such as body composition, posture, x-ray, strength and mobility just to name a few. If you would like to know more about our Wellness Score Evaluation and if it’s right for you, please call our office to set up a consultation to find out more.